Angina

Angina

Helpful Natural Supplements and Treatments

OVERVIEW

Angina (Angina Pectoris) is identified by a cramping pain in the chest. Usually it is caused by a shortage of oxygen to the heart because of restricted blood flow from hardening of the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis). The pain usually travels down the left arm, and often there is a feeling of suffocation and impending death. Attacks of angina pectoris are often related to exertion, emotional excitement, and contact with intense cold. Angina is often a precursor to a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

SUPPLEMENTS FOR ANGINA

There are several natural supplements that may help with angina. Consult with your healthcare provider to see which of the following supplements may be appropriate for you.*

*PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to make sure that supplements do not interfere with your medications or an existing health condition. First check with your doctor before trying any supplements.

Vitamins & Minerals

Magnesium: This macromineral may reduce coronary vasospasms that can trigger some angina attacks.

Less Helpful: vitamin C, vitamin E.

Other Supplements

Arginine: This amino acid can form nitric oxide in the body, helping to dilate the arteries, and thus improving blood flow.

Carnitine: All forms of carnitine, including L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine, may be helpful for angina. This vitamin-like substance is important for fatty acid metabolism, and it is particularly good for the heart, since the heart derives most of its energy from fat.

CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10, an important link in the electron transport chain (produces ATP), is also necessary for energy production. Good for angina, CoQ10 may be particularly helpful for congestive heart failure.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): This special form of the amino acid, L-cysteine, may improve the action of the angina medication, nitroglycerine.

Less Helpful: bromelain, omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Herbs

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): Native to India, this herb, taken for short periods of time, was shown to help with post-myocardial infarction angina. It may also be helpful for congestive heart failure.

Hawthorn: This herb has inotropic effects (muscle contraction), increasing coronary blood flow and cardiac output. It also has antioxidant properties.

Less Helpful: astragalus, kudzu, tribulus terrestris.

COMMENTS

Conventional treatment for angina pectoris includes medications (nitrates, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers) and surgery (angioplasty, bypass surgery). Other recommendations include stress reduction techniques (biofeedback, meditation, yoga), improvements to the diet, quitting smoking, and appropriate exercise. Do not exercise for at least an hour after eating heavy meals.

References

Jellin, JM, editor. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2008.
John Pillepich. The Nutraceutical Reference Guide, 2005.

FOR ANGINA, CONSIDER THESE SUPPLEMENTS*

*First check with your doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medications.

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